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What is Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are "insured," meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.

Disability is a subject you may read about in the newspaper, but not think of as something that might actually happen to you. But your chances of becoming disabled are probably greater than you realize.

Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 3-in-10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age.

While we spend a great deal of time working to succeed in our jobs and careers, few of us think about ensuring that we have a safety net to fall back on should we become disabled. This is an area where Social Security can provide valuable help to you.

To qualify for benefits, you must first have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. Then you must have a medical condition that meets Social Security's definition of disability. In general, the Social Security Administration pays monthly cash benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability.

Benefits usually continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis. There are also a number of special rules, called "work incentives," that provide continued benefits and health care coverage to help you make the transition back to work.

If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, your disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same.

Two things can cause the Social Security Administration to decide that you are no longer disabled and to stop your benefits.

  • Your disability benefits will stop if you work at a level we consider "substantial."

    In 2011, average earnings of $1,000 or more per month ($1,640 or more per month if you are blind) are usually considered substantial.

  • Your disability benefits also will stop if the Social Security Administration decides that your medical condition has improved to the point that you are no longer disabled.

You are responsible for promptly reporting any improvement in your condition, if you return to work, and certain other events as long as you are receiving disability benefits.

If you have been denied Social Security Disability Benefits, you should seek the legal advice and representation of experienced legal counsel to ensure you are fully aware of your legal rights, how the Social Security Administration operates, ensure all of your documentation is properly prepared and submitted in a timely manner, and fight for your legal rights in Social Security Disability legal issues and disputes. Contact Michael MacDonald today!

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